I came to Fitchburg State not knowing anyone except for my freshman year roommate. I’ve met lots and lots of people. There is not a time I walk across campus and don't see someone that I know, and I have both Dance Club and Greek life to thank for that.
Kristen Laquidara ‘22 has always loved to dance, so joining the Dance Club was a natural fit when she got to Fitchburg State. Little did she know the transformative effect her time with the club would have.
It was on a visit to campus as a high school senior that Laquidara first saw the university’s Dance Club in action. She was drawn to the variety of styles on display.
“I’d been dancing for 15 years prior to college,” said Laquidara, who is majoring in communications media with a concentration in photography as well as a minor in business. The club would provide a way to let her keep dancing without the pressure of a competitive environment.
“Dance Club is a very inclusive group,” she said. “We are a student-run club, which I love as it allows us to be creative and express ourselves outside of the classroom.”
Laquidara loved being a part of this club, and always hoped she’d have the courage to step into a leadership role at some point during her four years of college, but she was worried about filling the shoes of the past president. “In high school, I was the quiet one,” She said. “I went to school, went to dance, then went home everyday and repeated it all the next.”
But she was encouraged to give the presidency a try. “It did take some convincing,” she said. “My main goal was to be vocal for everyone’s needs, and to be approachable. You have to be on top of every detail.”
That was especially true as she ran and organized two successful dance showcases in the winter of 2021 and spring of 2022 during the pandemic, where participants had to abide by many restrictions including wearing face coverings in the dance studio as well as on stage.
“Those weren't always popular decisions,” she said, but she knew she had to enforce these rules to keep every dancer safe at all times. The experience of helping guide the club through a challenging time only made her love it more, she said.
In addition to the Dance Club, Laquidara is also active in Greek life on campus as a member of the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority. Joining in her freshman year, she found another tight-knit and supportive community.
These areas intersected when Laquidara organized a campus-wide talent show last fall, which was sponsored by the Dance Club, Greek life, and the Fitchburg Activities Board. The project was another logistical challenge that she was excited to pull off, and she was pleased to see her peers share their gifts before an appreciative audience.
Adapting to challenges as they arise has taught Laquidara to keep an open mind about what the future holds. Looking back, she’s pleasantly surprised by the path she’s taken. “I never thought I'd be a dance teacher for an advanced level class, and I definitely never thought I'd be the president of the largest student run club on campus for not only one but for two successful terms,” she said. “I came to Fitchburg State not knowing anyone except for my freshman year roommate. I’ve met lots and lots of people. There is not a time I walk across campus and don't see someone that I know, and I have both Dance Club and Greek life to thank for that.”
This story was originally published in the Spring 2022 edition of Contact magazine.